Why did HIStory have so few singles?

Gonetoosoon

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Why did HIStory have so few short films and singles?

The success of Michael Jackson as an artist was helped due to the brilliant and creative ways he promoted his music - through a mix of single releases and iconic short films.

I feel HIStory suffered (like Invincible) due to a severe lack of single releases. How is it that Bad and Dangerous both got nine accompanied with many short films and a fricking movie - and yet HIStory received just six (if you count TTA)? :mat:

Was it due to the mega-budget on Scream? Was it the huge floating statues? Was it the record company? Was it the fact that Ghosts was coming up? I just don't understand it.. The album had so much more to give on a short film front. We should all feel a bit robbed TBH. It's also a bit of a shame, because the short films which were released on HIStory lacked a little in the dancing department. They were beautifully shot - sure (especially SIM), but I wish we could have seen Michael doing a bit more of his thing. Only in TDCAU and at times in Scream did we actually see him actively dancing.

I feel these two factors contributed to the 'lower' sales figures for this album. We can all agree that HIStory is an absolute masterpiece - along with the entire Michael Jackson catalogue, but I feel that the record was let down due to these mistakes.

We all know the story with Invincible. What happened with HIStory?
 
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Josed

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As far as I know HIStory had more CD singles, but Thriller had more 12-inch and 7-inch singles.

CD-singles of HIStory:
- Childhood
- Earth Song
- HIStory
- HIStory/Ghosts
- Scream
- Smile
- Stranger In Moscow
- They Don't Care About Us
- This Time Around
- You Are Not Alone

CD-singles of Thriller:
- Beat It
- Billie Jean
- Thriller

Any questions about the albums, ask me,
Josed.
 

OnirMJ

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As far as I know HIStory had more CD singles, but Thriller had more 12-inch and 7-inch singles.

CD-singles of HIStory:
- Childhood
- Earth Song
- HIStory
- HIStory/Ghosts
- Scream
- Smile
- Stranger In Moscow
- They Don't Care About Us
- This Time Around
- You Are Not Alone

CD-singles of Thriller:
- Beat It
- Billie Jean
- Thriller

Any questions about the albums, ask me,
Josed.

Childhood, Smile, This Time Around were not commercial singles, not for sale, just radio or promo singles.
 

Josed

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Childhood, Smile, This Time Around were not commercial singles, not for sale, just radio or promo singles.
Yes, you're right about Childhood, Smile and This Time Sround, but even without those HIStory has far more CD-singles then Thriller...
 

dam2040

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HIStory also has many more songs than 'Thriller' and Thriller set itself on fire, no need for singles. (There also wasn't CD singles for Thriller, they would've been Vinyl's but that's just being picky :p)

I think HIStory was his best album, track after track of raw emotion. As good as Bad is, the lyrics 'I'm Bad, you know it' don't really inspire me to do alot, or make me think. They Don't Care About Us makes me think about how much the world scrutinises people for the wrong things. Stranger in Moscow, raw emotion about how he felt. It was a REAL insight into his life, and how angry he was. It's not weird paranoia in any way like the media would have you believe. Yet it was partly shunned on the single front, although it was certainly his most promoted album.
 

Josed

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There actually were 7 different CD-singles for Thriller:

Beat It:
- 10-8P-3046
- 34K-06453-S1
- EPC 82876725182

Billie Jean:
- EPC 656719 3
- EPC 82876725172

Thriller:
- 8869718009 2
- EPC 10-8P-3047

So yes, there were some CD-singles for Thriller, but not as much as there were CD-singles for HIStory...

This is a list of 7-inch singles of Thriller:
(If you also want to see the Catalog Numbers, ask me)

- Beat It
- Billie Jean
- The Girls Is Mine
- Human Nature
- P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)
- Thriller
- Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'


And these are the 7-inch singles for HIStory:

- Scream
- Stranger In Moscow
- You Are not Alone



So if you look at the number of songs that were released on single (excluding the ones that were released for promotion only) then you can see that Thriller and HIStory had the same amount of songs released on CD/7-inch singles:

(I didn't counted singles which were only released for promotion)

CD-singles: 7-inch singles: Total:
Thriller: 3 7 10
HIStory: 7 3 10

Josed.
 

JustMe00

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I think from 15 songs 6 singles and 2 promo singles is quite good, actually :)
 

Josed

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You had the album HIStory, but HIStory was also released as a single, so:

Singles:
- Earth Song
- HIStory
- HIStory/Ghosts
- Scream
- Stranger In Moscow
- They Don't Care About Us
- You Are Not Alone

Promotional Singles:

- Childhood
- Smile
- This Time Around
 

JustMe00

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You had the album HIStory, but HIStory was also released as a single, so:

Singles:
- Earth Song
- HIStory
- HIStory/Ghosts
- Scream
- Stranger In Moscow
- They Don't Care About Us
- You Are Not Alone

Promotional Singles:

- Childhood
- Smile
- This Time Around
Ah ok. :) I think HIStory is a single from Blood on the Dance floor, that's why I got confused :) TY
 

Prince Of Pop

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I think the reason there weren't as many singles released off HIStory was because of the fact that Sony decided they wanted to release Blood On The Dance Floor, which of course only had 1 single. They probably could and should have released more off HIStory, but in the end, the album still did very well (one, if not thee biggest selling 2-cd/album sets ever released)
 

bobmoo79

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I think the reason there weren't as many singles released off HIStory was because of the fact that Sony decided they wanted to release Blood On The Dance Floor, which of course only had 1 single. They probably could and should have released more off HIStory, but in the end, the album still did very well (one, if not thee biggest selling 2-cd/album sets ever released)


HIStory /Ghosts should be classed as a single from BOTD shouldn't it? The HIStory remix from BOTD was the single (and had a new video), with 'Ghosts' as a B Side (with accompanying edited Ghosts video). Neither song was on HIStory, so I consider there to be 2 singles from BOTD. Both intended to support the European leg of the HIStory Tour.

Personally I think there were enough singles from HIStory (at least in Europe - the USA didn't get Earth Song and maybe no Stranger In Moscow either).
It surprised me that with the HUGE success of Scream and YANA on the Billboard charts that the singles run was cut short in the US.
I think it's a shame This Time Around was cancelled. The collaboration between B.I.G and MJ could have been big - many people didn't even know it existed. Perhaps it just wasn't melodic or catchy enough. Similarly Tabloid Junkie was always one of my favourites so it would have been good to see that released.
In one way it was lucky that the singles promotion was stopped (IMO) before they released 'Smile'. That song was never going to set the chart on fire.
 

Eric

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I think some people in this thread have a different definition of being a single. For example, Earth Song was released as a single in the USA. There wasn't a CD or tape you could buy in the store. But the song was sent to radio and the video was sent to MTV and it was eligible to chart on Billboard. That's a single. Just because you couldn't buy an Earth Song CD doesn't mean it wasn't a single. I remember during the HIStory promotion that it was decided to not have a physical release of Earth Song in order to boost the sales of the HIStory album in the USA.

Blood on the Dance Floor cut in to the HIStory promotion. That's a big reason for not having as many HIStory singles as there were from Bad or Dangerous. After the release of the album BOTDF, there was only one more single released in the USA. That was Stranger in Moscow(Which came out almost a year later in the USA than the rest of the world).
 

Hunterr

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What you should be asking is why Invincible had few singles.
So many wasted opportunities.

I remember that era very well and how frustrating it was.

Butterflies was a big hit on the radio, but with no video, it stays in semi-obscurity.
I read in an interview with (the most awesomest music video director ever!) Michel Gondry that he wanted to do the video for BUTTERFLIES so badly, he'd even have done it for free.

I do like that HEAVEN CAN WAIT cracked the hot 100 with only radio support only. (i remember being excited it being on the charts).

CRY was a waste of time to release as a single. At least as the 2nd/3rd one from the album.

Anyhoo,
I feel HIStory had 6 solid singles. There's no other song(s) on the album I feel were single worthy, really.
 

8701girl

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I think the only songs that were officially released from the history albums were :

1) Scream
2) TDCAU
3) stranger in moscow
4) You are not alone
 

Hunterr

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I count Childhood and Earth Song because they had videos and radio play and things of this nature.

I lived in Germany for most of my life. They forever still play Earth Song ;)
 

HIStory

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Yeah, Earth Song was a HUGE hit everywhere else, but the US. In many countries in Europe it went Nr 1. Including the UK, where it was Christmas Nr 1, which is always hyped more in the UK than being Nr 1 at any other time. And it kept off the Beatles from the Nr 1 spot.

I wish Money would have been a single too, with a cool video.
 
C

ChrisC

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So yes, there were some CD-singles for Thriller, but not as much as there were CD-singles for HIStory...

In the context in which the OP is discussing, there weren't any CD singles for Thriller. In fact I believe the first CD single by anyone went on sale after the Thriller era. All those CD singles you mention are retrospective releases, you've even got the Visionary singles in there.

I've always thought much of HIStory lacked a commercial radio sound in 1995. Indeed in Britain, many DJs were playing remixed versions of the album tracks on the radio - They Don't Care About Us, Stranger In Moscow, Scream - as opposed to their original album versions. I don't know if this was a choice on their part, or if it's what Epic serviced them with. Ultimately, with European tour dates ready to be played out, and little they could promote commercially, Blood On The Dancefloor came to be. Hauling with it, the title track as a single and the Tony Moran remix of HIStory (with Ghosts as it's double A side).
 

144000

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In the context in which the OP is discussing, there weren't any CD singles for Thriller. In fact I believe the first CD single by anyone went on sale after the Thriller era. All those CD singles you mention are retrospective releases, you've even got the Visionary singles in there.

I've always thought much of HIStory lacked a commercial radio sound in 1995. Indeed in Britain, many DJs were playing remixed versions of the album tracks on the radio - They Don't Care About Us, Stranger In Moscow, Scream - as opposed to their original album versions. I don't know if this was a choice on their part, or if it's what Epic serviced them with. Ultimately, with European tour dates ready to be played out, and little they could promote commercially, Blood On The Dancefloor came to be. Hauling with it, the title track as a single and the Tony Moran remix of HIStory (with Ghosts as it's double A side).

Michael never put out music that wasn't single-worthy. The reality is that radio and media started having jealousy toward Michael and didn't want his singles played. There was a chart conspiracy and radio conspiracy against him as they started those nasty rumors about him. I was in that era witnessing it.
 
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ChrisC

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Michael never put out music that wasn't single-worthy. The reality is that radio and media started having jealousy toward Michael and didn't want his singles played. There was a chart conspiracy and radio conspiracy against him as they started those nasty rumors about him. I was in that era witnessing it.

I don't think that applies to the UK. MJ's singles from HIStory performed extremely well in Britain. In fact, perhaps better than any other era. All the HIStory and Blood on the Dancefloor singles went top 5 in the UK (as memory serves me), one of them outsold all of his previous singles, and he picked up 3 new number ones - two of them consecutively, a first for him in the UK, not to mention the coveted Christmas number one slot. It just seemed that the DJs were playing dance remixes of the album tracks instead. I'm suspicious Sony had a hand in this though. I don't think it was necessarily the wrong thing to do, I know Stranger In Moscow became a massive hit on the club charts on the back of those remixes. It just felt like an indication that what MJ was doing didn't fit into what was 'current' - and I think that's more to do with it being ahead of it's time than anything else. Anyway, I'm going off topic now I think...
 

mjjmsc

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the market was different, in Thriller Michael was the new kid, the new sensation...but History is a great album, you can see a grown up Michael with thoughts and feelings, the songs are mature and amazing!
 
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